by Eliana Buenrostro
In real Rookie style, I wrote something really honest about my love of Tavi and Rookie Mag–because if there’s anything Rookie has taught me, it’s to embrace the things you love with joyful innocence.
I am a huge Tavi fan. I’m not going to talk about what people in the fashion industry early on have said about Tavi Gevinson because quite frankly, it doesn’t matter. However, I will mention that she once covered the Neil Young song “Heart of Gold” and it was wonderful. She also really loves Stevie Nicks and I think that she and I would get along fabulously. What I admire most about Tavi is that while she does work very hard at all of her endeavours, she always looks like she’s having fun.
I also like that Tavi is enthusiastic about the things she likes. The cool thing these days is to ironically detach yourself from the things you love, so it’s nice to see someone bringing excitement back. (Also, one time Tavi replied to one of my comments on Rookie and it was awesome). At the SPARK retreat in August, many of the girls, myself included, talked excitedly about Rookie and Tavi. Then at dinner one night we met Anaheed Alani, story editor of Rookie Mag and it was so cool. She actually asked me what I felt could use improvement on Rookie Mag. Rookie’s staff has proven time and again that they truly care about their readers. That’s pretty remarkable.
I remember when Tavi first announced Rookie Mag, and I have been a devoted reader since they launched (seriously–I check the website almost every day). It is hard to believe that they just had their first year anniversary. Rookie publishes honest content, free from judgment. I stopped reading most magazines a long time ago because I was sick of being pressured to feel bad, talked down to or even pandered to. Rookie doesn’t do that. Some of my favorite pieces on the website are the honest accounts, from girls dealing with mental illness to struggling with identity and sexual orientation. Other magazines write about these topics, but rarely in a way that feels truthful. This is probably because “teen magazines” are made up of a staff of adults so far removed to the pressures of being a teenager. The writers at Rookie haven’t forgotten how difficult it is to be a teenager, and often Rookie writers will open up their hearts to the pain they’ve dealt with, even when the scars haven’t fully healed.
The most important aspect of Rookie, to me, is the sense of community. If I had been 15 instead of 19 when Rookie came out, it would have meant something drastically different to me. Not too long ago when I first started college, I didn’t have any friends or any real sense of community. In one year a lot has changed, and I imagine had Rookie been around when I was by myself, it would have been a great comfort. In fact it still is a great comfort! I am positive that it’s also a great comfort for many girls living in small towns. I think one of Tavi’s greatest accomplishments is bringing a sense of community to these offbeat interests. Rookie Mag had its first Road Trip this Summer, and while I was not able to attend when the girls were in the area, I heard nothing but good things about how enjoyable it was for everyone who attended.
What is so impressive and memorable about Rookie–and I think it took me awhile to realize why it had made such a strong impression on me–is because it’s filling a void in terms of media aimed at young women. These are young impressionable minds that are being molded daily by the media, where girls are convinced that their only options are to concede self autonomy and be whatever ideas of womanhood they are sold by advertisements. I think Rookie is only the beginning and I hope that it continues to encourage young girls to create their own media and culture. Our own SPARKteam member Britney has an awesome zine called Grrrl Angst Zine that feels very Rookie-esque!
Rookie tells girls they are awesome just the way they are and that is a truly powerful thing. Keep on keepin’ on, Tavi.
Here are some of my favorite Rookie Mag posts:
First Encounters of the Male Gaze
Breaking Up Is Hard to Do
We’re Called Survivors Because We’re Still Here
Living After Midnight
Breaking Up With Facebook
Fake It Till You Make It
It Happens All the Time
Season of the Witch
Getting Over Girl Hate
On Taking Yourself Seriously
Do It Yourself